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Whitakers in Briercliffe
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Author:  hannah [ Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Whitakers in Briercliffe

Trying to trace a a William Whitaker listed on the census in 1951 as a 9 year old errand boy, son of widow Betty.

Ten years later he has vanished? Too young to be married? Probably still in the Briercliffe area.

Any wise thoughts from someone who might see something I am missing/

Author:  Mel [ Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whitakers in Briercliffe

Is he definitely still living?

Author:  hannah [ Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whitakers in Briercliffe

:oops: oops Mel I hit the wrong key. It should be 1851.

I have traced his sisters Eliz. and Hannah and the younger brother John ( yes I have been down this avenue in the past if it is ringing a bell)

John turned out to be Eliz. son and not her brother :roll:

So William is the only male child on the society census list for widowed Betty and her late husband Joseph?

There is also a sarah and mary but they will have married, so I will never track them down.

Author:  Gloria [ Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whitakers in Briercliffe

Cannot find him in 1861 census.
There are no William Whitaker deaths from 1851-1861 which could be the right age.

Author:  hannah [ Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whitakers in Briercliffe

Thanks anyway Gloria, they are a difficult lot to keep track of :(

Author:  Ruth [ Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whitakers in Briercliffe

Making the most of my Ancestry subscription and Lancashire BMD I am pretty confident that I have solved this one and tracked William Whitaker, aged 9 in in 1851 to his death in Burnley in 1905.

1851 CENSUS, Briercliffe with Extwistle, district 4a, page 13
Betty Whitaker, head, wid, 39, house work, born Briercliffe
Eliza Whitaker, dr, unm, 17, power loom weaver cotton, b. Briercliffe
Hannah Whitaker, dr, unm, 15, power loom weaver cotton, b. Briercliffe
Mary Whitaker, dr, unm, 12, errand girl, b. Briercliffe
Wm Whitaker, son, 9, errand boy, b. Briercliffe
Sarah Whitaker, dr, 3, cotton weaver, b. Briercliffe
John Whitaker, son, 11, scholar, b. Briercliffe

1861 CENSUS, Burnley, district 10, page 13

(William Whitaker turns up on Ancestry for 1861 census as a 'you may also be interested in': correct age, mother Betty, widow; siblings match for names and ages. Birthplaces of children not given as Briercliffe but local people might recognise them as more precise than Briercliffe - note John is aged 1 in Haggate in 1851.)

5 Hitchen Tenement
Betty Whitaker, head, wid, 49, born Briercliffe
Elizabeth Whitaker, dr, unm 27, cotton weaver, b. Southfield
William Whitaker, son, unm, 19, cotton weaver, b. Stone Rach [Back?]
Sarah Whitaker, dr, unm, 13, cotton weaver, b. Stone Rach
John Whitaker, son, 11, scholar, b. Haggate
Thomas Whitaker, son ,3, b. Burnley

(Hannah not there; Mary not there.)



I then found Betty etc in1871, but William has left home.

1871CENSUS, Burnley, district 20, page 30

(found by searching on John as didn't turn up for Betty)

Philips row
Betty Whitaker, head, wid, 59, housekeeper, born Burnley
Elizabeth Whitaker, dr, unm 37, cotton weaver, b. Burnley
Sarah Whitaker, dr, unm, 23, cotton weaver, b. Burnley
John Whitaker, son, 21, cotton weaver, b. Burnley
Thomas Whitaker, son 13, cotton weaver, b. Burnley


I then found a likely William, now married. This William is the best match for age and place of several William Whitakers in the 1871 census.

1871 census, Burnley, district 18, page 20

Old (illegible) Street - after Heap street and before Colne Rd, Duke of York Inn
William Whitaker, head, mar, 29, insurance agent, b. Briercliffe
Mary Whitaker, wife, mr, 30, house keeper, b. Burnley
Margaret Ann Whitaker, dr, 6, scholar, b. Burnley
Joseph Whitaker, son, 4, scholar, b. Burnley
Henry, son, 1, b. Burnley


I then used Lancashire BMD to find the marriage of William and Mary (1861 to 1865 checked, all Lancashire)

1863 William Whitaker m Mary Taylor, Burnley Register office or Registrar Attended
reg. Preston , ref RM/18/197

To confirm this is the correct one, you would need to buy the marriage certificate, which would give William's father's name.

Only other Lancashire marriage of William Whitaker to Mary (Johnson) was in 1865 and was judged less likely, child Margaret was aged 6 in 1871.


I then tracked William and Mary and their children through the 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses, but didn't make notes as you might like to do this research yourself.

Mary is a widow in Burnley in 1911, having had 10 children of whom 7 were still living.

I then checked Lancs BMD for William's death. Most likely was:

1905 William Whitaker, aged 64, Burnley East.


If you don't have access to Ancestry I could type up the later censuses for you, assuming you are persuaded that I have found you the correct William!

Best wishes

Author:  Gloria [ Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whitakers in Briercliffe

Well done Ruth you have been busy.
Just a note which may be of use, in the 1861 census, Stone Rach will be Stoney Raikes which is on Robin House Lane Briercliffe.

Author:  hannah [ Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whitakers in Briercliffe

:shock: Wow! yes that sounds like the correct William.

This means there are more relatives that I was unaware of :? Still trying to sort out the info.

I know that the youngest ! year old John was Betty's son, her husband Joseph died in 1850
Just realised that there is another son that you have found, Thomas? that I seem to have missed, Betty was a widow in 1851 and in 1861 there is Thomas age 3!!!! listed as her son. .
This would be the child who later turned out to be Eliza's little secret'

Obviously more shameful to have an illigetimate grandson than to have a son born 3 years after your husband died :(

Thomas married and his cert. gives Eliza. as his mother and father unknown.
Eliza. and her sister sarah moved in with him until his family expanded to 8 children.

The two sisters moved out and never married but lived together also nearby.

Poor old Betty ended in the workhouse!!!!!! albeit because she was ill and Burnley General did have wards where the poor were looked after well, BUT!!!! Thomas I am totally ashamed of. How could he do that after all she had sacrificed for him, he was by then running a prosperous grocers and off licence on Townley St, so he could have afforded better care!!!
He purchased two plots in Haggate with large marble headstones where he and his family are buried but Betty? presumably in an unmarked grave.

Now of course I do not know what happened to her youngest John.

I cannot trace the other sisters as they would have married but when I can sort out all the info. about William, I may ask for a bit of help.

Thanks you for all you have found out so far.

Sometimes I think we none celebs. have more interesting families than the ones who pop up on TV 8)

Author:  Ruth [ Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whitakers in Briercliffe

We genealogy addicts always enjoy a chance to search someone out when we have a bit of spare time! It was fun to chase up your William and I enjoyed reading about his (and your) relatives in your last posting. Yes, I agree, 'ordinary' people often led lives that now seem extraordinary.

I used to think I was descended from a Briercliffe Whitaker but it turned out that my Whitaker ancestors came from Trawden. My maternal great grandmother, Alice Bannister nee Whitaker, was the illegitimate daughter of Nancy Whitaker of Ing Heys, Trawden. Nancy was also illegitimate, the daughter of Mary Whitaker. It seems that for many people illegitimacy was not really a big deal in those days, despite what we were led to believe about Victorian morality!

I'd be happy to help again in future. Please email me if I am busy with other things and happen not to look at the Forum for a while.


Author:  hannah [ Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whitakers in Briercliffe

My lot came from Trawden!!!!

As far as I can remember it was Harrison Whitaker b 1769 who married Nancy Heap in 1787. Prior to that they are all recorded in Colne, i went as far as John and Mrs John in 1709 and then realised any further and they wouldn't mean anything to me so I gave in.

Could you if you have time, see if John b. 1838 appears on a later census.
You will have found that there are a lot of Whitakers which led me all over the place, but i have a vague memory of one family with the youngest listed as 'imbicile' on the census.

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